Grantmakers is the Arts has a long-held commitment to engaging the community in each city where the annual national conference is held. In planning and producing the GIA Conference, GIA employs a set of principles and practices which seek to create a positive impact for both conference participants and the local community. As with all GIA programs, the conference is also deeply informed by a commitment to racial equity in arts philanthropy. Read GIA’s Racial Equity in Arts Philanthropy Statement of Purpose and Recommendations for Action.
- Local Planning Committee: In planning each conference, GIA enlists a committee of diverse arts funders who are from the local community. The conference committee informs and connects GIA to each region’s unique history and culture, helping to identify local artists, thought leaders, organizations, and other cultural assets to incorporate into the conference experience. The committee also reviews and helps select session proposals for the conference.
- Local Voices & Expertise: GIA intentionally engages a diverse selection of local artists and thought leaders, including those from African, Latino/a, Asian, Arab, and Native American (ALAANA) backgrounds, to share their expertise as plenary and keynote speakers and presenters. GIA also encourages session organizers, who are GIA members from across the country, to consider local artists and thought leaders to take part as panelists and presenters. Artists, performers, and other non-funder participants are always compensated for their time and expertise.
- Connecting to the Local Arts Community: Conference attendees have the opportunity to learn about and interact with the culture of the local area through preconferences typically held outside of the hotel, guided cultural tours, dine-arounds at local restaurants, and off-site sessions hosted at local cultural institutions. Cultural venues are intentionally selected to represent diversity in art form, organization size, and neighborhood, and all venues are compensated for use of their space. Additionally, the fall issue of the GIA Reader, published each year in the weeks before the conference, often includes articles about and by the local arts community, as well as poetry and prose by local writers.
- Supporting Local Business: GIA works with locally owned businesses and non-profits wherever feasible and especially prioritizes ALAANA-owned businesses. This may include hotels and other venues, catering, event support, transportation, audio/visual services, and more. GIA encourages conference attendees to support local restaurants, shops, and cultural destinations during their stay in the city.
- Reducing Environmental Impact: To reduce waste, GIA does not offer a resource table for distribution of materials at the GIA Conference and does not provide conference tote bags or miscellaneous handouts. Conference programs and directories are made available digitally for conference attendees in addition to printed material. GIA also purchases carbon offsets to mitigate the environmental impact of conference-related travel for GIA staff.